B&NES launches East of Bath Park & Ride consultation – local Councillors comment

Details of the consultation process that will take place to help choose the best location for an East of Bath Park & Ride have been released by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Keeping a key commitment from the local elections earlier this year, the authority’s new Conservative administration has promised to give local residents a genuine say over where the long-discussed new Park & Ride should be built – ensuring the final location produces the maximum benefit in terms of reducing traffic congestion whilst at the same time minimising any visual impact.

Following an assessment of seven potential locations by the Council’s transport officers, three viable sites have been identified for the new Park & Ride.  The other four sites were assessed to be either too far from the east of the city to capture enough traffic from the A4, or undeliverable due to the cost and feasibility of the engineering work required.

The three sites to be taken forward to public consultation are:

– Land to the west of Mill Lane;
– Land to the east of Mill Lane;
– Land to the east of the A4/A36 junction.

The consultation will start on the 7th September and will run until early October, and will allow members of the public to have their say over which location should become the preferred site for the Park & Ride. The consultation will include public exhibitions in both Bath and the areas near the potential Park & Ride sites, as well as online and in brochure form.

 Local Conservative Councillors representing areas on the east of the city have welcomed the fact the consultation will put forward more than one site option.

However, Conservative Councillor for Bathavon North, Geoff Ward, has said that he will personally be opposing the site on the Bathampton Meadows to the east of Mill Lane, a site which had been previously earmarked for a Park & Ride in the past, and will be encouraging residents to join him in sending in their views.

Councillor Geoff Ward (Cons, Bathavon North) said:

“Over the years people have become used to the fact that most consultations only put forward one option, giving the impression the decision is a fait accompli.

“So I think it’s really refreshing that the Council has decided against this approach and has instead committed to such an open process in which residents will be presented with more than one option and given a genuine say over the location of the Park & Ride.

“My priority will be to ensure that residents’ views are heard so that the best location with the least visual impact is selected. Personally, I am totally opposed to using the land previously earmarked for a Park & Ride to east of Mill Lane, as I believe the visual impact of this site on the meadows is simply too great, and I know many residents in the area feel the same way.

“Therefore, I will be putting forward my strong objections to this site as part of the consultation, and would encourage local people in the area to make sure they give their views as well.”

Walcot Councillor Fiona Darey (Cons), whose ward includes the notoriously congested London Road, has welcomed the launch of the consultation.  She said:

“This is a long-overdue project which has been discussed for many years but has never come to fruition, so I’m delighted to see this progress finally being made.

“Anyone who has lived with the problems caused by the traffic congestion and air pollution on the London Road will know how desperately we need to see action taken to reduce the number of cars coming into the city from the east – and building this Park & Ride is one of a number of measures needed to address this problem.

“I’d therefore encourage all residents affected by the traffic on the London Road to get involved in this consultation when it launches in September.”